After few years living in the US going back to randonneuring was on my list . The passion for cycling was kicking me in my butt to continue. Commuting to work every day, I was physically ready . I have done all rides from the SR Series in Bulgaria, but it has been almost 10 years. I knew what to expect and I was mentally ready. The only thing is – no bicycle. In 2010 a friend of mine gave me a call- he was selling a nice Cannondale bike, and I quickly bought it for $200. After using it maybe for only 2 months- it sold for $450. This money was used to purchase my first rando bike. It was a 2006 Scott Speedster S30 from Craigslist. I drove two hours to Richmond ,VA ,but it was well worth. The bike had carbon fork and Shimano 105 group. Perfect!
Training was hard in the winter prior my first brevet. I then joined DC Randonneurs – the closest bike club, organizing brevets in the DC metro area. My goal was to ride as many brevets as I can. Afterwards, I realized that I rushed my comeback, and the bicycle was not fitted properly, but lesson was learned . The first brevet for me was the Urbana 200K. We started from the Waffle house in Urbana ,MD.
Because it is one of the shortest distances, many riders showed up. We were on the road at 7 am,and it was still dark . I don’t recall what the temperature was , but it was cold. My mask was on, leg warmers and shoe covers as well. Looking like a ninja , but warm…
The strategy is never to compete on brevets, but rather try to stay under the time limit, and get close to your own pace. My goal for this ride was 10 hours, with the time limit being 13.5 hours. I first let the fast group pass . I am not good with names . I started the brevet with a rider from Greenbelt, and that was his first brevet. I gave him few words of encouragement, mainly telling him, that if you can do 20 miles ,you can do 40, and so on… It’s all about having very strong mindset. Having a great capacity to face challenges, and also resisting breakdowns during long rides . Yes, expect to break down. Hydration and proper nutrition is also a key factor.
10 miles after the start we joined another group as we were moving way too slow.
At mile 64 , just around noon, in the middle of the ride, we were in State Line PA. The control was at Earls`s Market
We grabbed a snack, filled our water bottles. Then took off few layers clothes , as temperatures were rising, and headed back.
The highest point on the ride I believe was Catoctun Mountain Park in Thurmont, MD. It was steep and all the rider groups broke in pieces.
It felt good on the way back to Urbana, so we kept a nice pace. Our group was helping one another with drafting , because we experienced some strong head winds along the way. Looking at my time, I was now shooting for my first 200km under 10 hours. I ended up with 9 hours 59 minutes. Goal accomplished… To my surprise there was pizza for everyone in the last checkpoint: Ledo Pizza in Urbana. It seems like a common practice at every ride DC Randonneurs organizes. What is not to like about it !
After successfully completing my first 200K in years, I was looking forward to my next brevet – the ACP 300k in Frederick, MD.